Supply chain is basically considered as a strategic concept that involves understanding and managing the sequence of activities -from supplier to customer-that add value to the product supply pipeline. The role of customer service in the supply chain management is not incidental. Every company in this chain, irrespective of market size mainly they thankful to its customers as the fact is that in all profit of firm there are customers are in center whom to buy the goods and services produced by each one of them. This century marks the end of monopolies and therefore customers can make an array of choices. When customers decide not to buy products in a particular supply chain, then no doubt the company would collapse without earning any revenue for the expenses incurred in launching the product on the stage of saturation and decline stage.
So, the supply chain should be structured in such a manner that there is a common link between the products as such and the end customer. It is because that the tastes of customers keep changing and their expectations goes on rising, when product cycle at saturation and decline stage at they began decreasing ‘brand’ loyalty and put in for anything that attracts them. Thus the importation must be put on conducting effective market analysis to know the needs of different groups of customers to whom the offer is to be made. Its main aim is to polish its contact with the customers. The rationale behind this strategy is to improve services provided directly or indirectly to its customers and to use the information in the system for targeted marketing and sales purposes. A kind of metrics should be used to assess the customer service, like the company’s ability to fill the orders in limited time or the delivery of the products on the due date. Other researches can be conducted to find out the reason for not delivering the products on the due date. There is no compromise for an act of negligence in meeting customer satisfaction as it is the customers who ultimately judge the life span of the company. In today’s fast growing economy, it is not the matter of fact that the big beat the small but it is the fast beats the slow and the accurate beats the inaccurate. Below are mentioned seven steps to reduce the fulfillment costs by improving customer service at the same time. The following points are important with regard to supply chains,
- Integrate with order entry system: In today’s hyper competitive economy it is very difficult to maintain order fulfillment through the internet. Most of them placed through Internets are managed poorly and which end in resulting distorting customer satisfaction due to delay in product delivery. Integrating a systematic order fulfillment process tends to reduce manual labor that saves time, increases profitability and customer satisfaction E.g. Order received in night and make delivery in the day time.
- Build in adaptability: Providing exceptional customer service has proved to be challenging in today’s competitive environment. Companies can meet this challenge by proving to be adaptable with the customer wants makes changes in their orders right from the purchase and even up to and after shipment. This can prove to be successful as the customers can get what they want even if their product changes from the market. E.g. Tailor made transportation system like packaging facility as per weather.
- Confirm with bar codes: By changing the bar coding into an automated one ,the company can save a large amount of its time and energy and even implement perfection in planning as it presents real time data instead of mere projections. E.g. In the ware house material arranged with bar-code easy to locate particular product with the bar-code system we can easily shift goods as per priority of delivery and delivery places.
- Conducting automated pickings: Automated technologies are easily fulfills the needs of customer thereby increasing customer satisfaction and bringing in repeated business in a shorter time span. E.g. Goods collection from customer destination is one of good example of automated pickings it’s save time and money of customers which bringing repeated business.
- Automated shipping plans: Using automated shipping plan the workers can pick to a predesigned way of stacking the containers without going for trial and error methods. This saves a lot of time and energy of the workers engaged in stacking the containers and speeding the delivery with less expense than without automated shipping plan. E.g. Bar-code system on containers and on the area of ware house which easily track the goods and easily stacking and speeding the delivery.
- Automate shipment verification: By applying automated verification together with automated picking and using bar codes, more time can be saved on packing, verifying and shipping process.
- Sourcing orders based on facility workload: Logistic managers should use the method of best utilize of space when multiple warehousing and distribution facilities are available in order to improve responsiveness and maximize flexibility.
The above factors tend to make the shipment reach the customers more quickly and which therefore has a direct impact on their satisfaction levels. The standards of service provided to end customers should be determined and mentioned on top of the list. The remaining strategic decisions should also be taken considering the customers interests. Organization has to adjusting the supply chain as such to meet the market demand and product features, Determining the relation model among the supply chain participants, Selecting the suppliers, Determining on the distribution channels, Adopting a specific method of stock holding, Determining the location and nature of the warehouse, Formulating guidelines in selecting the transportation. Taking a decision on any of the above mentioned factors without giving due consideration to the customer needs may seriously affect the implementation of the general strategies of the supply chain, as the strategies of the supply chain are competitive in nature that aimed at end customer satisfaction.
The focus of supply chain on the customers can be studied more explicitly using the Quick Response concept, which means identifying the demands and reacting to its changes as quickly as possible. This concept was developed in relation to textile industry in order to avoid losses due to change in demand. The QR nature is such that it assume in close cooperation with the supply chains by providing maximum satisfaction to its customers by reducing the costs to its minimum. This becomes material if the customers provide timely information to the suppliers regarding their demands and they make timely supply of the demand. This method would no doubt increase sales by reducing the costs by bringing in profit to all the supply chains involved.